Which is India's First Wi-Fi City

The fairy tale from 1001 nights: The holiest city in India

an oasis of calm, in the middle of the hustle and bustle of India, our hostel ...

hustle and bustle on and on the Ganges ...

Here everyone lives as they want ...

Goodbye to Tim and Kim

Ceremony at "Ganga seva niani" ....

Washing clothes in "Indian"

Buffalo wash in "Indian" ....

Varanassi, we are coming ...

After a couple of very cold days in Dargeeling, on which we waited in vain for Kim and our train tickets to Varanassi, we organize our tickets ourselves. We can only take the detour via Patna, but it doesn't matter, taking the train is the bare minimum Madness in India. We also want to go somewhere warm and I should wash again, preferably with warm water (me and my clothes). Mouse beaver has read that there are around 1.5 million coli bacteria swimming around in the "Ganges", well, meal ..... I suggested that we wash our laundry in the river in the Indian way, and he refused.

So we start first with the jeep to New Jaipiliguri. Walter and Tim organize a berth here, because we have 3 tickets, but only 2 places. This is completely normal for Indians, they also sleep on top of or under each other if need be. Well, with a 16 hour train ride I would love to lie down ...

So I think Varanassi is loud, like all Indian cities, but somehow beautiful. There is really something "sacred" about it. The river is wide and runs along the city and it's not that dirty at all, or I got used to the dirt after 3 weeks.
As soon as we arrive, we order a train ticket to Agra and Ajmer, otherwise we will be stuck again forever. A really nice Indian shows us what is probably the most beautiful guesthouse in all of Varanassi .... Oh, I like it a lot. A beautiful garden invites us with cozy places to linger. The room is huge and clean for 200 RB (about 3 €)! And so we go to the order of the day and first wash ourselves and the laundry. Tomorrow we will delve (literally only) into the story of the holy Ganges.

In the garden of the "Singh Guesthouse" we can really switch off and recharge our batteries. There is also a small restaurant here, which is not necessarily recommended, and "Wifi", which is also important once again when surfing the Internet without spending money.

After a good breakfast it goes down to the Ganges to the famous Gaths. True Indian life rages here ... Some people bathe in the holy water next to the water buffalo and have fun, others wash themselves ritually and pray. Dogs stroll around you and wait for tasty treats and monkeys climb up and down in temples and on house walls. Dealers want to sell all kinds of things, including massages and my mouse beaver falls for it. So he is dragged and kneaded by 2 men in the middle of the way on a cot. In the end, the masseur is offended because he only gets the equivalent of € 2 and has to share it with his buddy. I also slowly get tough with the begging children and often talk to them in German, so they quickly disappear. Weird guys walk around here and have their pictures taken for a few rubies. People like to take pictures of us and so I hold up my hand again, to which the Indians react very scared. Well, that's tough when you look in the mirror.
Then we come to the great gath where the corpses are cremated. Immediately two guys have us on our necks and lead us into a tower from which we can watch everything well. A lot of information about this sacred ritual pours down on us.

By the way:
Varanassi is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. The holy fire has been burning here for over 3000 years, with which every "pyre" is kindled. Only a certain wood is used for this, namely the wood of the "Bo tree", because it takes away the smell and this wood comes from the tree under which Buddha achieved his enlightenment. One kilo of this wood costs around 300 RB (6 €), 350 kg of wood needs to be burned. In addition, sandalwood shavings and jewelry, an expensive undertaking by Indian standards. Around 150 corpses are burned here around the clock in 24 hours. Women are not allowed to take part in the ceremony because crying prevents the soul from going to heaven. Pregnant women and children up to the age of 10 are not burned, but sunk into the river with stones. The Hindu belief says that man is in a shell that has only been borrowed, so this must be completely destroyed so that the soul can achieve eternal peace.

The goal in life of many Indians is to die in Varanassi and to achieve eternal peace on the holy Ganges (in India the river is female, mother Ganges, a goddess). That is why there are many old people in Varanassi. A hospice was built especially for them, where they can wait for their end and are supported by donations. In my opinion, a very successful gesture by the city.

Nevertheless, after the inspection and now equipped with better knowledge, we are very biased. Such a public burning looks very macabre, at least for us Europeans.
So we stroll on and meet Tim, Kim and a few more girls from Korea, Japan and Hong Kong on the way. Together we go to the "Ganga-seva-niani" festival and take part in the ceremony, which is also the festival of lights in Varanassi. Then they kidnap us to eat in one of the many alleys. As always, I'm hungry for death, but the mousebeaver doesn't feel like eating. The Indian spice hit his stomach. A nice waiter ordered him special food, rice with vegetables, mildly seasoned ... lo and behold, it worked. On the way back to the hostel there are firecrackers everywhere and people wish us a warm "Happy Valley". On the Ganges, thousands of lights float in Babanen leaf bowls, which were previously decorated with colorful flowers by the women, a fairytale sight ...

Today we dare to try again to explore Varanassi and notice how the noise on the streets is infinitely annoying. Nevertheless, we dive into the alleys, listen to Indian sounds, buy something here and there and have a delicious meal. I admire the magnificent silk brocades, oh there are such beautiful things here, especially in a blaze of color never seen before. It's a shame, we as tourists are not allowed to go into the "golden temple". Both of us are fascinated here in Varanassi and in all other places in India, where people and animals (cows, goats, dogs, cats, monkeys, etc.) live so peacefully together and everyone fulfills their right to live in every place.

We have breakfast late after chatting half the night with Moni, Stefan and Alex. It was a fun evening where we all shared our travel experiences. Moni and Stefan are from Bavaria and Alex is half-Spanish, grew up in Frankfurt and lives on Mallorca.
Mausbiber already got a small kettle today so that we can make our own coffee and tea. We have missed him a lot since saying goodbye to Tim. While looking for this very thing, he met an Indian who drove him through half of Varanassi on his moped in order to find one.
Since our train to Agra doesn't leave until the evening, we go to Asi-Gath to have a pizza. This is where we meet Kim for the last time. He wants to stay a little longer. Funny, this farewell is not as difficult as (then) from Javi, Tomas and Armando.
This time we immediately found our place on the train, next to Peggy and Steffen from Saxony, what a joy ... local dialect. From a "Hindu priest" we get a blessing for the trip and our first point on the forehead (of course for 20 RB) We have a lot of fun with each other and to tell each other a lot, the Indians next to and above us have long been sleeping when we curl up on our cots around 1.00 a.m.
In the morning there are still Indians in the aisle and Walter has also made himself comfortable. The train stops and the first tourists come to our seats, thank God, otherwise we would have missed getting off. We are in Agra.

a "Hindu priest" devoutly praying ...

Lights all over the Ganges, beautiful ...

Always and everywhere .....

Fabrics, chains .... everything nice, hihi

We devoutly listen to the traditional Indian music in the alleys ...

Animals stand above everything and so the monkeys can also live where they want ...

What's the matter?:
Part 1: from Moscow with the Transib to Beijing, back west to India, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Indonesia, Australia Part 2: Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Brazil, Venezuela, Costa Rica, the Caribbean
Duration:20 months
Destinations: Russia / Russian Federation